Shelley v Kraemer case brief

here you will see the Shelley v Kraemer case brief.

Shelley v Kraemer is a significant decision in which the United States Supreme Court eliminated racially restricted housing covenants.

Here I will share with you the Shelley v Kraemer case brief to help you understand everything you need to know about the Shelley v Kraemer case in a simple and accurate way.

Interested in learning how to write your own case brief? learn here or you may check these case brief templates.

Let’s get started

Shelley v Kraemer case brief

Shelley v. Kraemer – 334 U.S. 1, 68 S. Ct. 836 (1948)

Decided on Decided May 3, 1948

by

Justice FRED M. VINSON, Supreme Court of the United States

Parties

J. D. Shelley and Ethel Lee Shelley et al. Petitioners, and Louis Kraemer and Fern Kraemer Respondents.

Procedure

Respondents sued Appelelnats in the Circuit Court of St. Louis.

The Circuit Court decided in the Appellant’s favor.

Respondents appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the decision of the Circuit Court.

The Petitioners appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Facts

Shelley, an African-American family, purchased a home in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1945. They were unaware at the time of purchase that the land had been subject to a restricted covenant since 1911.

According to the restricted covenant which was entered by thirty out of thirty-nine property owners in a neighborhood, the land could not be occupied by “people of the Negro or Mongolian Race,”

A ten-block neighbor, Louis Kraemer, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of St. Louis to prevent the Shelleys from taking control of the land.

The Circuit Court rejected the claim on the ground that not all of the property owners had signed the restricted covenant.

Respondents appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which overturned the Circuit Court’s ruling and declared the covenant’s provisions enforceable against Petitioners.

The Petitioners appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Issue

do the restrictive covenants enforceable?

Rule

In reaching its decision the court applied the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Equal Protection Clause is located at the end of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Reasoning

When applying the law to the facts, the court reasoned that While restrictive covenants regarding property ownership or occupancy based on race or color are not in themselves a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the equal protection clause of the Amendment prevents state courts from enforcing such covenants, even if such courts are willing to enforce restrictive covenants regardless of the race sought to be excluded.

The rights to acquire, enjoy, own, and dispose of property are among the civil rights intended to be protected from discriminatory state action by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Therefore the Court concluded that conferring judicial sanction to an agreement that, by its provisions, deprives the Petitioners of equal protection under the law provided by the Fourteenth Amendment is an action that cannot be sustained.

Holding

No, the restrictive covenants are unenforceable because it violates The Equal Protection Clause.

Judgment

Judgment of the Supreme Court of Missouri reversed.

Read the full opinion here

other case briefs to read

Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of sherianajamii.com. Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion